When hearing the name Gronkowski associated with sports, we think of Rob Gronkowski, and possibly his brothers. Many people did not know ‘Gronk’ had a great-grandfather who was not only an olympic medalist, but also a world record holder for many years. With athletes that are the best at their position, sometimes they have a family member who gave them the genetics they’ve been blessed with, but rarely do you hear it from someone who was an olympic athlete before World War II had even started.
Ignatius “Iggy” Gronkowski was born on March 28th, 1897 in Buffalo, New York, the breeding ground for the entire Gronkowski family. Ignatius was an American cyclist, something you wouldn’t expect from the frame of a Gronkowski. While most of you have heard of Robert Gronkowski, making the nickname ‘Gronk’ a household one, but he has other great-grandchildren in the NFL. Dan Gronkowski played for the Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and played with Robert on the Patriots in his career that spanned just two years. Chris Gronkowski, who has been seen on Shark Tank with his iceshaker brand also played in the NFL, playing with the Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and the then San Diego Chargers from 2010-2013. Most likely the least known of the four is Glenn Gronkowski, who played one year on the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots practice squad. Last but not least is Robert Gronkowski. Robert has played ten years in the NFL and has won four championships with the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Iggy held four world records at one point in cycling, in the half-mile race, three-quarter mile race, one-and-a-half mile race, and the two mile race. In 1924, Ignatius was selected to the US Olympic Cyclist team. In the individual standings, he placed 45th, and 12th overall with his team. He also competed in the fifty-kilometer race, but stat trackers had no idea people would be writing about a man who great-grandfathered four NFL talents, so the stats are far and wide between. When talking about historic generational sports families, put the Gronkowski’s into the conversation from now on.